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Thursday, February 5, 2009

UN: Bhutto's Murder to be Investigated

ISLAMABAD/NEW YORK, Feb 4: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced on Wednesday that an independent commission of inquiry would be set up soon to investigate the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

“On the basis of our extensive consultations with the government of Pakistan and members of the Security Council, I intend to establish very shortly an independent commission of inquiry headed by a very distinguished person, whom I am going to nominate soon,” Secretary-General Ban said at a banquet hosted by President Asif Ali Zardari.

The UN chief said he was aware that the issue of her assassination was a matter of great importance to the people of Pakistan.Sources in New York told Dawn that the the Ambassador of Chile to the UN, Mr Heraldo Munoz, would lead the three-member UN inquiry commission.

Mr Dar Usman of Indonesia will be a member of the commission while the third member will be from Sweden whose name could not be ascertained.

Mr Ban paid rich tribute to the slain PPP leader and said her assassination had “shocked and offended the world”. President Zardari thanked the secretary-general for accepting Pakistan’s request for conducting a UN probe into the assassination.

The president expressed the hope that the commission would be made functional soon and its findings “would lead to eventually exposing financiers, organisers, sponsors and conspirators of this terrorist act and bring them to justice”.

PAK-INDIA TIES: The UN secretary-general stressed the need for friendly relations between Pakistan and India for the sake of peace and stability of the region and urged Pakistan to cooperate with India in bringing the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack to justice.

“I have urged the prime minister that the Pakistan government should have a full investigation into this issue and fully cooperate with the Indian government,” he said while replying to a question regarding Pakistan’s compliance with UN Security Council Resolution.

Calling upon both countries to resume the peace talks stalled in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, the secretary general said that maintaining rapprochement between the two neighbours was of critical importance for regional relations and could pave the way for a “new era of cooperation, peaceful co-existence and socio-economic transformation in South Asia”.

“I would strongly urge again, even though you have suffered because of this Mumbai terrorist attack in your relationship with India, engage in composite dialogue as you have been very sincerely discussing all aspects of bilateral relationship, this is what the UN and international community wants,” Mr Ban said, adding that he hoped President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani would move forward with the resumption of the composite dialogue.

He said long outstanding issues like Kashmir needed to be “addressed and resolved” peacefully through dialogue.Mr Ban asked the government to do all that was possible to secure the release of UNHCR official John Solecki kidnapped in Quetta on Monday.“

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